Elon Musk, the CEO of X, recently ignited a firestorm of controversy when he endorsed an antisemitic conspiracy theory on the platform. As a result, advertisers have begun pausing their spending on X, prompting Musk’s brash response of “go fuck yourself” during an interview at the DealBook conference.
Elon Musk’s controversial remarks and endorsement of harmful conspiracy theories have created a backlash among advertisers, with many pausing or withdrawing their advertising from X. The platform’s failure to effectively moderate hate speech and extremist content further compounds the concerns raised by advertisers. The future of X remains uncertain as the fallout from Musk’s actions continues to unfold.
Advertisers who were already considering whether to continue investing their ad dollars on X are now left with even more uncertainty. Musk’s aggressive stance against advertising has raised questions about the viability of the platform. Additionally, the recent hiring of advertising industry veteran Linda Yaccarino as CEO seems at odds with Musk’s dismissive attitude towards advertisers.
Musk’s insistence on battling nonprofit organizations and filing lawsuits against them, accusing them of damaging X’s relationship with advertisers, further exacerbates the situation. The list of companies pausing or pulling their advertising on X includes prominent names such as Apple, Disney, and Warner Bros., among others.
Musk’s Apology Falls Short
While Musk did express remorse for his “foolish” comment during the interview, his overall position remains unchanged. He continues to spread violence-prone conspiracy theories, as evidenced by his recent endorsement of the debunked Pizzagate theory. The impact of these conspiracy theories on real-world events cannot be overlooked, with Pizzagate alone resulting in a violent incident.
The Issue of Moderation
Research conducted by various organizations, including the Center for Countering Digital Hate and Media Matters for America, has revealed a concerning lack of moderation on X. Hate speech, antisemitic conspiracies, and the glorification of Nazi ideology have been left unchecked on the platform, leading to advertisers’ ads being displayed alongside such content.
In response to these reports, X has filed a lawsuit against Media Matters, accusing them of misrepresenting the user experience on the platform and attempting to suppress freedom of speech.